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  • Writer's pictureDr. Pearl E. Whites

Debunking 6 More Myths of Teeth Whitening

Updated: Apr 28

Myth: Charcoal and DIY Remedies are cheaper, better, & just as effective
Making DIY teeth whitening with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda

Cheaper, yes. Better...risky. We will admit that we have seen some patients with whiter teeth that do charcoal, DIY, and oil pulling. Charcoal and/or hydrogen peroxide+baking soda are extremely abrasive and can erode enamel with extended use. This permanently makes your teeth yellow by exposing more of the inner dentin layer. We also found charcoal accentuates decay. The ADA states there is no evidence that charcoal is safe or effective on teeth and does not yet have the ADA seal of approval.

Myth: I Get Sensitive Teeth So I Cannot Whiten Anymore
women with sensitive teeth after whitening

False. Sensitivity is the #1 complication to whitening teeth, but this is a temporary nuisance. Use some or all of these tips, which will help. You still may have sensitivity but it will be much more tolerable:

  • Whiten 2-3 days straight then take a break until sensitivity subsides then start up again

  • Wear the trays for half the recommended time (i.e. if we recommend 60 mins then wear them for 30 mins)

  • Use a prescription toothpaste. Prevident 5000, 2 weeks prior to your whitening sessions. If you have trays then after your nightly whitening session, dab Prevident into the trays and wear that for 5-10 minutes afterwards.

  • We offer Ultra EZ desensitizer trays that you may wear for 15-60 minutes after each session.

  • Never use bleaching gels that have greater than 10% concentrations

  • At each of your dental cleanings request fluoride varnish be placed on your teeth.

Myth: The Higher the % of Whitening Gel the Better it Is

Well, sort of. Whitening percentages range from 10, 15, 20, 35, and now 45% concentrations. A higher % will likely get you faster results and speed up the process, but has 2 main complications: 1) the whiteness will not last as long and 2) the higher the concentration comes with increased potential for greater sensitivity.

The lower whitening concentration (10%) provides the longest-lasting results of any. Best whitening results are achieved if done with the lower %, daily, and over 5-14 days initially. Slower in this case is more effective, the tortoise would agree.

Whitening with best results is doing the slowest method tortoise and the hare
Myth: If I Whiten Long Enough My Fillings and Crowns will also Whiten
example of teeth whitening where the crown does not change color

Unfortunately the color of any dental work (crowns, fillings, veneers, amalgams) will always remain that color regardless of whitening products. If your dental work is an off color may we suggest to whiten any way. Then when you are comfortable with the new shade, let's replace those old restorations with the color that matches.

Myth: OTC Gels Bought at Retail Store are the Same as Those Sold in Dental Offices
box of crest whitening strips are they better than in-office whitening

OTC trays, like 3D Crest Whitening Strips, have hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient. Our office also sells stronger hydrogen peroxide products but carbimide peroxide is the more effective whitening agent that is only sold at dental offices. The difference in quality is substantial enough that retailers cannot sell the same higher concentration of whitening agents that dental offices can. OTC whitening product results last weeks to months while dental office whitening agents last months to years.

If you're on the fence regarding whitening though, we actually suggest first buying 3D Crest Whitening Strips. That way if you are not fully committed then at least it won't cost you that much if you were to not follow through with your purchase.

Myth: Whitening Ruins My Teeth
mouth full of cavities claiming it is from whitening products: false

Incorrect. We know that whitening does not destroy the enamel if used as prescribed. Your teeth are made up of tiny tubes that fill up with gunk over the years. Whitening simply cleans out the teeth innards and whitens them. They can revert back to getting yellow again so touch ups will be necessary to maintain your beautiful whiter smile. If your teeth are ruined like this photo we can guarantee it's not from whitening--it has more to do with inadequate hygiene and teeth constantly bathing in acids from eating and drinking.


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